I'm not a Virgo, but I was born close enough to the cusp to love making lists, and the turn of a new year is prime list-making season. Each January 1st, I sit down and pen not only resolutions but also long lists of goals and to-do's, the difference being that goals are lofty and require skill-building and herculean effort—write novel, find agent—while to-do's just entail time and elbow grease—clean basement, put digital photos into physical albums. I make lists of words from which I select one to guide me through the coming year—last year it was fierce, because I wanted to be braver in my life and in my writing; this year it's blossom because I want to stop striving and start flourishing as a writer and, in my life, be more open to possibility and have a brighter, happier outlook. I also choose a word to try to avoid using—last year it was busy; this year it's should.
Starting the year on such an aspirational note could set me up for disappointment and dismay come December if it weren't for another list I like to make at the end of each year, the I Did It list. I first learned about the I Did It from the blog of writer and past Literary Mama contributor Lisa Romeo. Romeo recommends that writers document all of the good things, big or small, that happened in their writing lives over the past year and then give themselves a pat on the back for all they've done. Writing an I Did It list forces me to stop focusing on what I haven't accomplished and instead celebrate what I've achieved, and it helps me start my writing year on a positive note.
As we celebrate Literary Mama's 15th year of publication, I thought it would be fun to look back and make a We Did It list for all the journal has accomplished. Over the last decade-and-a-half, Literary Mama has featured the writing of 1,660 contributors in more than 5,000 posts on our website. The breakdown of those posts is:
Literary Reflections Essays: 142
Author Profiles: 176
Book Reviews: 237
Short Stories: 314
Creative Nonfiction Essays: 361
Blog Posts: 2,048
We also introduced photography to our pages, have added a newsletter, and are expanding our social media presence.
We—our editors and editorial assistants past and present, our contributors, and our readers—have a lot to celebrate and be proud of in creating and sustaining a literary journal that honors the hard work of motherhood, welcomes writers at all stages of their development, and harbors an online community of literary mamas. The Literary Mama community definitely deserves a pat on the back as we head into the new year full of hopes, dreams, and aspirations for this labor of love, and we look forward to what the next 15 years will bring.
P.S. Stay connected between monthly issues by subscribing to our blog and newsletter and by following us on social media. Also, explore our archives to discover more mothers' voices!
Transformation: T Day by Katrin Grace
Conversation with Caitlin Shetterly by Andrea Lani
Images by Victoria Brown, Samuel Clara, Christin Hume, Rudri Patel, and Thomas Quaritsch